Before you fire up your favourite browser, that's a geeky joke. As far as I know there's no such website. There should be, but there isn't. The joke being that the Internet is just like the travelling circus in the 1932 film, The Freaks, starring Wallace Ford and the gorgeously Slavonic Olga Baclanova. (The definitely political incorrect poster from this MGM production proclaimed, "Can a Full Grown Woman Truly Love a Midget!" Yes, if she's prepared to look down on him and agree to a short engagement). These days you don't need the circus. You just need to surf the Web and the two-headed calf is only a few clicks away!
The articles that follow will relate my adventures whilst tracking down a particular species of cyber troll. It's not a pleasant story and the journey took me to the edge of madness not once, but several times, (actually, it didn't. I'm just using a bit of poetic license). It's the story of a heroic single-handed journey that began on an Internet pen pal site and led to the birth of the infamous, self-styled, Trollbuster-General. Whilst some trolls I came across were merely weird, others - like McNob - were profoundly freakish. Not that it was all that difficult to track them down. Finding freaks on the Internet is like shooting fish in a barrel with a Gatling gun.
I should just mention that these articles are written in a style known as gonzo journalism. A form of journalism created back in the early '60's by the late and great Hunter S. Thompson, it received a mixed response: whilst it was hailed as a breath of fresh air by some, it was a putrid stench to others. Why? Well, whereas the conventional journalist attempts to be objective and sticks to the facts, the gonzo journalist throws convention - and virtually everything else - to the winds. Sure, objectivity remains. It's just that there's less of it. In some cases a lot less. Gonzo journalists not only report a story, they become personally involved in it. And, because bare facts tend to be rather boring, they spice the whole thing up with a liberal dollop of pure bullshit. Needless to say, there are some who would argue that gonzo journalism is alive and well in the tabloids. The only difference being that in the tabloids journalists toe the editorial line. Thompson, on the other hand, never toed the line.
Of course, at this point you may wonder which parts are true and which parts have been embellished by my vivid imagination. The truth is most of this shit is so fucking freakish you just can't embellish it. Indeed, in my opinion not the even the combined efforts of Thompson and William S. Burroughs aided by Colombia's entire yearly production of cocaine could have produced anything like this. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the picture.
And, before anyone wonders, unlike Thompson who swallowed, smoked and snorted anything that was guaranteed to alter his state of consciousness, I bottled out. Whilst I'll admit to having dabbled in speed and cannabis, I swear I never had the balls to take any of that stuff in the gargantuan quantities Hunter went through. On the other hand, after meeting some of the cyber trolls who infest the Internet, I'd gladly swap the weird characters I met for Hunter's giant lizards any day! So what and who are these people?
Simply speaking, cyber trolls are psychologically retarded individuals who use the Internet for their own personal gratification. They like nothing better than to piss other people off. And they do this in a variety of ways. One common method is to deliberately start an argument, (called a flame war), which then degenerates into an all out slanging match with no holds barred and expletives flying about in all directions. Cyber trolls are on the same social level as binge drinkers. The only difference being that cyber trolls are sober. At least I assume they are. Some of the time, anyway.
Perversely, I found many trolls rather fascinating. I even had torrid cyber affairs with some of them. Not only that, but the label of cyber troll has also been applied to me. Rather unfairly, in my opinion. But you can be the judge. My online reputation which was previously unblemished, (apart from one or two minor incidents), began to unravel when I joined a forum on David Cameron's site. I was working on a satirical article and I wanted to find out what sort of people the Tory leader had attracted. That's when I ran into a pipe smoker who felt that nicotine was non-addictive and had no harmful side effects.
My first thought was that whatever this guy was smoking, it wasn't old shag! Only a substance like crack cocaine could remove a person this far from reality. So I pointed out some rather glaring errors in his argument. Okay, I may have expressed it a little forcefully. I'm afraid I don't suffer fools gladly and I also possess a rather acerbic tongue, (antibiotics have proved useless). Couple this with the fact that I used to smoke myself. And there's nothing worse than a reformed smoker. If you think those people who blow themselves up for religious reasons are zealots then you clearly haven't met an ex-smoker. We don't need Semtex.
And that's when the shit really hit the fan! Suddenly I was inundated with smokers telling me I was a cunt. Not directly, after all these people were Tories, but that was the message I got. I was a cunt and all those statistics about smoking were bullshit. To be fair, they did concede that one or two people may have died from smoking related illnesses. That's when the accusation first reared its ugly head. So I Googled up some information about the denizens of Trollania. I even joined a flamer's forum. The forum's sole purpose was for people to insult each other and in the space of a week I'd brought it to a standstill. No one dared post anything. I then moved onto Brawl Hall. Said to be the Net's prime flamer's forum. There I ended up being labelled a troll and had my privileges removed. Without an anaesthetic! It was clear these wankers could dish it out but they couldn't take it. They'd met their match!
In my next article I'll introduce you to the eponymous Pink Coat...